2 sentenced in car burnings

May 31, 2008|By Julie Bykowicz

A former Maryland Transit Administration police officer and a former MTA bus driver who tried to dodge car loan payments by hiring someone to burn their vehicles were sentenced yesterday in federal court, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

The officer, Ronald Lurz, 35, of Baltimore was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. The bus driver, Lucretia Westbrook, 35, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay more than $36,000 in restitution, prosecutors said.

The two pleaded guilty to hiring James Walthall - also a former MTA officer - to set fire to their vehicles because of difficulty with the payments, prosecutors said.

On Dec. 15, 2003, Walthall picked up Westbrook's 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe and burned it. Then, on Jan. 1, 2004, Walthall picked up Lurz's Audi Quatro TT and burned it. Lurz then filed a false police report and false insurance claim, prosecutors said, and was relieved of $34,000 in debt.

For his role, Walthall, 41, of Randallstown was sentenced April 28 to five years in prison.

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